Poll: Do You Still Love The UFC?


It’s hardly a secret in the MMA world that the UFC is off to an incredibly rough start in the first four months of 2017.

Last weekend’s UFC on FOX 24 showed some signs of a turnaround as the best card of the year thus far, but even that packed, exciting event needed a late rally to avoid becoming the lowest-rated FOX-aired UFC event of all-time. Many blamed a lack of effective promotion, but regardless of a reason, a huge opportunity was missed at a time when the sport needed a shot-in-the-arm type of card.

Add that to the fact that the promotion overbooked the last few months of last year, and you have a messy situation where new owners WME-IMG are attempting to implement a still-developing strategy without much – if any – true top-level star power behind it, the one thing that drove the promotion to its biggest ever year last year.

All of the aspects working against WME seem to be coming to a head right as they’ve attempted to cut costs drastically by laying off fighters and employees, and it has obviously made them look like they don’t know what they’re doing. Whether it’s the often-criticized Reebok deal, hiccups with USADA, or just the strange booking strategy that seems to favor so-called ‘money fights’ like the upcoming Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre middleweight title fight, it’s clear the new owners have a lot of work to do to continue the success of the Fertitta brothers.

Their insistence to cut fighter costs and pay them a low wage after they let the cat out of the bag by paying $4.2 billion for the company will be an ongoing struggle for them, and it’s clear that their new strategy – or lack thereof – has taken the wind out of the sails of many an MMA fan in the early days of this year.

What do you think? Do you still love the UFC like you used to, and do you think WME will be able to turn it around?

  • Juan Diablo

    Yes, I just want to see good fights and they give me that

  • Spyridon

    I feel UFC has went way down hill in the year leading up to the sale, and since then.

    It is obvious they were trying to do things such as book so many events, pushing fight pass/etc, just to bring up value of the company for the sale.

    Now days, it’s all about “money fights” and “needle pushers”.

    Gone are the days where fighters were booked because of the rankings. Rankings are pretty pointless nowdays. The sad part is, this shows in the quality of fights. If they are not similar rank, it’s a lot more 1 sided fights. And they bank off of all the hype for a fight, and 90% of the time they end up being a disappointment.

    This is on top of the fact that, rather than 1-2 big fight cards a month, now they try to have them lined up every week. This means less solid cards overall, and once someone gets injured, the card is screwed rather than having viable replacements ready.

    I don’t even bother gathering friends anymore – too many cards to afford buying all of them, and with so many event’s I don’t go out to sports bars either. Not as excited to see the cards overall, and just end up watching highlights after the fact lately.

    Very sad in my opinion. I have a feeling the UFC is going to crash and then have to become legitimate again in order to return to success.

    • leonaidis

      The path the ufc are on all started with Lesnar. Then the Couture vs Toney fight, and now we have Conor as a champ. And Conor was right, the new, ignorant fans took over. And that’s why the ufc is loosing MMA fans, the new fans don’t know shit about the sport, all they care about is the personality of the fighter, and the drama he creates outside the octagon. Now we have Conor fans, and they are not the same as fans of the sport of MMA.

      • JamesC

        well…I hate to tell you, but it was always on this path. UFC 1 was nothing more than a way to promote Gracie BJJ. Those guys were all tailor made to lose to Royce. PRIDE was nothing but spectacle and made little attempt at hiding it. There was a small sliver of time when the UFC bought PRIDE where it seemed like it was about competition.

        Its not anyone’s fault. Under Zuffa it was in the red and they were doing alot to keep the sport alive. They had to make matches that would sell just to recover their money. Then it became about selling it off…that is when all the real bad stuff started happening that increased the value of the brand economically but reduced quality (Reebok deal, money fights, more shows with less quality, FOX deal etc.). Now that WME has bought it…those dudes didnt have 4 billion cash. They took out loans. They essentially bought a factory and have to pay the mortgage every month…which will require them to always have the bottom line in mind.

        Dont get me wrong in that process many good things happened (great fights, unified rules, expansion into new markets (NY, China etc), increase stars of the sport, women’s division,

        • leonaidis

          Yeah, but why not keep it a sport? I don’t get get these money fights, I’d get them if that meant the best against the best. Alvarez vs McGregor I get. It’s always good to see fighters compete in different divisions. What I don’t get is that Conor didn’t have to make his championship real before getting a shot at Alvarez.

          It’s going to lose it’s competitiveness if this goes on. And then they’ll lose fans. The ratings are down all ready, when Conor or Ronda doesn’t fight. If they concentrated on getting MMA fans, not Conor or Ronda fans, they would get more consistent high ratings. Soon when they start losing the MMA fans they’ve already got, because it’s not sports any more but entertainment, they’ll not get their money back. This route they have taken is bad business in the longterm.

          • JamesC

            Could not agree more.

  • JamesC

    I love the sport however, there are few things that have made it feel not so great.
    The overall reason is that it feels increasingly more exploitive of the fighters. Not for any one reason but for a confluence of things

    1. Increased knowledge of head trauma
    2. low % of fighter pay versus event profit
    3. Lack of fighters ability to have sponsors
    4. Fighters forced to wear Reebok (ties into #3)
    5. Fight is straying away from competition and more into entertainment. Yes, Fitch and Askren are not as fun as other fighters but I want to know who the best is.
    6. Inequity of promotion between fighters of color the same as white fighters.

    I still love the competition, the unpredictability, the game of mental and physicsal chess, the display of heart. I like how fighting in universal

    • Shock Wave

      Hit the mark on all points.
      I also feel that the champion of each division should be cleared out before *Any* talk of money fights.
      Also, criteria should be met for money fights to happen, such as, minimum of 3-5 title defenses, and the champion should have finished his/her opponents.

      Split-decisions don’t count as a defense, not in my book 😛
      Same with majority draw.

      • JamesC

        agreed. Connor getting that fight was such short term thinking. Now every champ is asking for that kind of fight. Connor caught Aldo…that may have just been a fluke. But more importantly he did not face anyone in the top 5 except an unprepared Mendes. If he beat Frankie, Lamas, Swanson etc. I would totally see why he should have gotten the shot. It would have made more sense to have Connor at least have 3 title defenses and maybe have Alvarez have a few title defenses…it would have made that fight even bigger. Connor v Aldo would have sold out the Garden just as much.

    • David Twardy

      I don’t agree with #6. Silva, Jones, Tito, Diaz’s, and many many more big UFC stars are not white. If you are referring to Conor or Cody…… Well Conor is 9-1 and is his own brand, Cody knocked off Almeida in a fight that could have gone either way on paper. Ronda was the best at the time crushing everybody. Nunes isn’t getting the same push because she’s really just a fighter with nothing else to offer. This sport survives off the die hard fans, and thrives off the casuals. The casuals are not interested in Nunes because she doesn’t speak english that well. How much money should the UFC put into taking a chance? There are fighters that can do the promotion themselves and there’s the one’s that can’t. If Nunes wins another 2 or 3 in exiting ways she will be just as popular as Joanna.

      • JamesC

        I knew that would be controversial…however, when you compare and contrast it becomes comical. I don’t want to get to deep into who is a person of color..but I don’t really consider Tito a person of color, but things like race and ethnicity are social constructs. I will give a list of people of color on the left who are more talented than the white counter part and for the most equally able to self-promote

        Silva – Liddell
        DJ – Faber
        Aldo – Cruz
        Benson Hend – Edgar
        Woodley – Weidman
        Cormier – Sonnen
        Anthony Johnson – Hendo
        Jones – Tito (ok…jon has done more damage to himself than his ethnicity)
        Melvin Guillard – Diego Sanchez (ok..I am just being obnoxious now)
        Rampage – Rich Franklin

        I bet you could not make a list that goes the other way

      • JamesC

        wow I wrote a reply listing about 10 examples of equal or better minority fighter with equal or better ability to self promote compared to a white counterpart who got was more promotion. It said…something like Lowkick was reviewing..and now its not here.

        The mere fact that such a post was somehow removed I think proves my point even more. #racismisalive

    • Bill Wolf

      “1. Increased knowledge of head trauma”

      This too. I want to see a sporting contest. I don’t want to see someone harmed in a lasting way. I don’t want to pay to have that happen. But the news from the doctors is bad.

    • Mike

      We agree on most stuff but I don’t think anyone ever thought getting kicked in the head for a living was good for them. Also white fighters getting better deals can’t agree with that one Spider, Jones, Rampage, Bendo, Randleman. UFC tonight hosts Karyn Bryant, Tyrone, Rashad, Yves. That is off the top of my head a list of guys who have
      had major promotion without going into hispanic fighters

  • Shock Wave

    Personally, had the formula not changed so much, the UFC would be as successful as ever.
    Fighters were getting bonuses, sponsors getting sponsored, events delivered, very few injuries…

    Now look at it…

    It’s an embarrassing farce.
    Screw “Performance of the night”

    Bring back KO, Submission, and fight of the night.

    And do it for each division, not any one fight.

    These guys put their lives on the line, pay them their damn money, and stop trying to screw the customer out of a event because corporate fat cats want to get fatter!!!

  • Mike

    Yes I still love the sport, but honestly it has gone from a room full of 20 guys when we started watching in the mid 90’s to I’m lucky if a mate comes round now.
    Maybe because early on there was months to wait between events so you were always looking forward to the fights, not sure.
    I really don’t like all the BS matchups and joke title shots as I am a fight fan.
    The shady deals the UFC does that are all about money “Reebok” that end up costing the fighter are BS and also look crap.
    The fact that I pay $50 per main event and it is littered with advertising about crap movies I am not interested in. I’m sure that money goes to the fighters though!
    I also get sick of all the smack talk, this person is the greatest gets thrown around a little to much for my liking if I had to hear Joe or Dana tell me how good Rousey was one more time while watching her spoonfed matchups I think I might have vomited.
    Oh as well as she could beat male fighters above her own weight. ratings ratings.

    The long and the short is it’s all about money not black money not white money, money.
    It stopped being about fights a long time ago but every now and then you still get those gems that remind you why you can’t stop watching thank you Darren Elkins your finish of Mirsad Bektic was one of those.

    • JamesC

      I agree about that Elkins fight. Did you hear Rogan talk about it on the podcast. There is something about that warrior spirit when I see it gives me goosebumps. Diego Sanchez, Frankie Edgar, Forrest Griffin, Garcia, Big Nog, Randy, Shogun, Wandy, BJ Penn, Nick Diaz, Gil Melendez, Condit, Lawler…there are some guys where it doesnt matter to me if they win or lose or what was said before or after the fight. They show heart. I probably watch for that…more than anything.

      It seems that there are factors that take away from that. One of which is that they arent paid enough to risk what they risk.

  • ernesto chavez

    The UFC is a none issue.

    I like the fights and fighters no matter what organization is sponsoring the events. It’s like asking if fans care who the UFC president is or owners are. Makes no difference.

  • Bill Wolf

    There are many good fights, but I don’t think the UFC is doing things in the right way any more.

    In the old days, if Jon Jones no-showed against Daniel Cormier, the UFC would put on another fight with Daniel Cormier. Daniel Cormier versus Anderson Silva might not have been what the fans had in mind or what Daniel Cormier had in mind, and it might not have been a great fight, but nobody got cheated. Daniel Cormier’s fans still got to see the fighter they paid to see, and the fighter still got paid. Everybody could see that the UFC did its best.

    Now, when Khabib Nurmagomedov no-shows, that means the UFC saves money on him, and then it tries to save more money by bargaining Tony Ferguson way down, and if he doesn’t buy that they cancel the fight, and don’t even pay the fighter his full money for making weight. So the fighter got squeezed and if you paid to see Tony Ferguson fight you got robbed. All this so a multi-billion-dollar company could nickel-and-dime a fighter.

    If Bellator gets stronger by offering fighters and fans a better deal, that’s fine by me.

  • leonaidis

    It’s not the ufc’s fault things are going the way they are going. It’s the stupid, ignorant new breed of fans that are giving the ufc their money that are ruining the sport.

    The one thing I can’t get is that the ufc thought that the sport of MMA fans would stick around when it becomes entertainment?

    The number of McGregor, and his like, fans are never going to out number the fans of MMA. There’s a big difference in being a fan of a sport and a fan of a person. Too bad the new owners don’t understand sports, they’ll lose the sports fans, which the numbers show is happening right now. Can’t remember when I last payed to see a ufc event??

    I love the sport of MMA. The ufc, not that much. How could I? It’s not a sport anymore, it’s not competitive anymore. Well it is, but it’s not about who’s the best fighter anymore, it’s about who is the most popular, who makes the most money.

    McGregor is far from the best boxer in MMA, but he is the most popular, that’s why he is fighting Mayweather. It’s about making money, not about seeing if a MMA fighter can handle himself in the boxing ring. There would be a whole lot of better boxers in MMA to prove that, but they wouldn’t be such huge draws with the new, ignorant fan base as Conor.

    The ufc has become some silly version of MMA.